Sarasota County protects 25 acres of environmentally sensitive land on the Wild and Scenic Myakka River

Property connects to other greenspaces and serves as significant wildlife corridor

On Dec. 21, 2022, Sarasota County acquired 25 acres along the Wild and Scenic Myakka River, near the intersection of South River Road and South Tamiami Trail and the adjacent the Myakka State Forest, the city has announced.

The county purchased this land through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program (ESLPP), which provides voter-approved revenue to acquire and protect property considered to be of import to the environment, a news release points out.

“This strategic purchase helps protect the riverine habitat along the property’s shoreline as well as the natural resources in our region, especially those within the Wild and Scenic Myakka River watershed,” said Nicole Rissler, director of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department, in the release. “The property connects to other greenspaces and serves as a significant wildlife corridor, and now will be protected and preserved in perpetuity,” she added in the release.

The 25 acres consists of tidal salt marsh, tidal strand, mangrove swamp, mesic and hydric flatwoods, and hydric hammock habitats, the release explains. Among the wildlife species that call the property home are the West Indian manatee, river otter, gopher tortoise, American alligator, and several wading bird species, such as the green heron, little blue heron and reddish egret, the release notes. The plant species present include the giant air plant, cardinal air plant, shoestring and resurrection ferns, elephant’s foot, Savanna blazing star, black needle rush, and red, black and white mangrove, the release says.

This property also is located within 1 mile of the State Designated Critical Wildlife Area 17-12, which was established to protect nesting birds such as the anhinga, herons and the wood stork, the release points out.

The ESLPP is a voter-approved and taxpayer-funded program that began in 1999. Since its inception, it has enabled the county to protect and preserve more than 40,250 acres of natural habitat, with more than 21,000 of those acres placed under conservation easements, the release explains. “Conservation easements remove the land’s development rights and require the landowner, current and future, to protect the land for greenways, water quality, habitat, and wildlife protection in perpetuity.”

The county’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Oversight Committee (ESLOC) advises the Sarasota Commission on land nominations, acquisition, management, prioritization and use of environmentally sensitive lands throughout the county, the release adds.

Learn more about the ESLPP by visiting or call 3-1-1